With 23 players on their roster, and $2.5 million in cap space, the Vancouver Canucks are hoping to rejuvenate a couple of careers.
With Todd Fedoruk and Owen Nolan being offered professional tryout contracts, it’s apparent that the Canucks are looking for creative ways to infuse some depth and experience. With news being released about Ryan Kesler’s labrum surgery that will force him to miss the beginning of the season, they’ll need the help.
Fedoruk last played during the 2009-10 campaign, appearing in 50 games for the Lightning. At 32, he’s played 9 NHL seasons, tallying 97 points and 1050 PIMs in 545 games. At the very least, he could add some grit to the fourth line, but will have to earn a contract first.
Owen Nolan is the more intriguing pro contract tryout, a former 1st overall selection (1990) by Quebec, the 39 year old has 442 goals and 885 points over 18 seasons. He played for Zurich last year in the Swiss League at better than a point per game clip (7 goals, 19 assists in 24 games).
I’m not sure how many hockey fans recall this, but in the 1995-96 All Star game, I remember Dominic Hasek was in goal and had an amazing game.
At the time, Nolan was a feared shooter, but had run into a hot Hasek throughout the game. During the penalty shootout, as Nolan crossed center with the puck, he pointed over Hasek’s shoulder, -which was precisely where he put the puck. For the next week, all my hockey buddies and I could talk about was “the point”.
Of course, Vancouver fans shouldn’t expect those types of moves at this stage in Nolan’s career. But if his two year stint in Minnesota proved anything, there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank. Also, he’s fairly reliable defensively, and his veteran presence makes him a valuable addition to the locker room. Add to that fact he’s got Irish blood running through his veins, and he’ll probably add some spit and vinegar to the Canucks’ third or fourth line. Back in 2001, Nolan was handed an 11 game suspension by the NHL. I’d be curious to watch the ensuing battle if some knucklehead like Dan Carcillo (who recently had a lot to say about Vancouver after being acquired by Chicago) gets up in his grill.